Tibet, bearded lamas

16th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

A few (generally late) sculptures of lamas depict them with facial hair, usually a moustache, goatee and beard. The above has cold gold on his face and the details have been painted with pigments, blue for the hair, white for the facial hair. His cloak is decorated with a chased cloud pattern and a geometrical and floral border. A tiny foot shows under the abundant Chinese silk fabric. He holds a manuscript in his left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Chokyi Dragpa Jungne, hollow gilt copper, at the Fondation Alain Bordier.

This Tibetan buddhist teacher sports a long curly beard that follows the jawline, no moustache or goatee.

17th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper and silver inlay, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

A stunning character seated on an antelope skin over a double lotus base, holding a bowl in his left hand and a vajra sceptre in the other.

His eyes and facial hair, except for the eyebrows, are made of silver. He doesn’t wear a vest and his chest would be bare but for a copper-inlaid strip, presumably a piece of material to hold his robe in place. There is a richly embroidered cloak resting over his left shoulder.

18th century, Tibet, lama, horn and paint, at the British Museum in London (UK).

This lama with a  Chinese-style beard and goatee  holds a long-life vase in his left hand.

 

Tibet, lamas in patched robe (2)

13th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This lama’s eyes and the seam of his clothes are inlaid with silver, his lips, nails and some seams are inlaid with copper.

The inner garment is decorated with a chased floral motif and scrolled foliage on the hem. His hands do a gesture normally associated with buddha Vairocana, the left one displays an embossed circular design, possibly a dharma wheel.

13th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy, private collection, published on http://www.astamangala.com

Early works often depict lamas with patched up garments, denoting humility, although at times the sculpture has been richly gilt.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, possibly Jigten Sumgon Rinchen Pel, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Silver is often used to inlay the lama’s eyes and the seams of his clothes, and copper for the lips, nails and hems.

14th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams

Here the vest is made of plain fabric and the patches of the outer garment are delineated with deep incisions but the hems are also plain.

15th century circa, Tibet, lama, brass, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This lama’s meditation cloak is made of strips of embroidered cloth sewn together.

15th century, same as before.

On this example, the outer garments are decorated throughout with a chased floral and rice-grain pattern.

 

Tibet, deified lamas (5)

16th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This unidentified lama holds the stem of lotuses supporting a vajra sceptre and a bell, and a set of three flaming jewels in his cupped hand. His eyes are inlaid with silver, the lips and part of the vest with copper.

16th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This one is framed by a blue lotus supporting the hilt of a sword to his right and a different lotus supporting a manuscript (Manjushri’s attributes). His hands, held wide apart, do the ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ gesture.

16th-17th century, Tibet lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this curious sculpture, the blue lotus with the hilt of a sword to his right and the other lotus to his left each support a miniature lama seated on a lotus base.

17th century, same as before, with traces of gilding, photo by Sotheby’s.

Another image with (blue) lotuses supporting a book (to his left) and the hilt of a sword and the lama’s hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘.

 

Tibet, lamas with attributes (2)

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This lama holds a bone rosary in his left hand. The middle finger on his right hand presses the thumb in a gesture denoting patience.

14th-15th century, same as before.

A similar style, with the meditation cloak over the shoulders and the tip of a felt boot more visible at the front.

15th-16th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, same as before.

This very expressive character holds a closed lotus mandala in his left hand.

Same as before, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

And this one holds a manuscript. His right hand is held in the fear-allaying gesture. The facial features, hair and part of his fine Chinese silk clothes are painted with pigments. His checked vest and outer robe have an incised floral hem.

16th century, Tibet, lama, brass with copper inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This jolly character holds a long-life vase in his left hand and does the teaching gesture with the other, displaying a diamond engraved in the palm.

The broad hem of his vest is inlaid with copper and decorated with a chased rice-grain pattern. Part of his outer robe is incised with a floral and foliate design.

16th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Another smiling personage, with a goatee, holding a drum in his right hand and a bell with a vajra handle in the other.

Tibet, lamas and their garments (3)

12th century circa, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Early Tibetan sculptures normally depict lamas with a sleeveless undergarment, an outer robe which covers the lower undergarment, and a meditation cloak usually worn over the shoulders and wrapping the knees. The above is seated on a low double-lotus base with a backplate decorated with lotus buds and topped with a triratna (set of three gems). The style of his hat originates from the Dolpo area in Nepal.

The artist has used thick beading for the edge of the backplate, incisions for the patched robe, stippling for the floral decoration on the edge of the cloak and piping for the hems.

13th century circa, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper inlay on mouth, nails and hem, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The meditation cloak is pleated and has a small collar.

The hem of all the garments is often incised, with a floral or a geometrical pattern.

18th century, Tibet, Sakya lama, gilt metal, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Sometimes the cloak has slipped off the lama’s shoulders and is piled up around him. We will note the waist of the lower garment showing, and the long strands of plaited hair.

14th-15th century, Tibet. lama, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This lama doesn’t wear a cloak, his patched robe covers his legs down to the ankles. Traditionally, the right arm is left bare. He does the turning-the-wheel-of-dharma gesture with his hands.

15th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

As fashion evolves, the pleats of the lower garment gathered under the breast begin to show slightly under the outer robe around the 15th century.

15th-16th century, Central Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Resources.

17th century, Tibet, lama, metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

At times, the waist of the garment, pleated and held in place with a belt, shows completely.

 

 

 

Tibet, lamas on throne (2)

13th century circa, Tibet, Kagyu lama, brass, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This character is seated on a lotus over a stepped throne covered with a cloth and supported by two lions and decorated with a vajra sceptre and scrolls at the front.

Same, with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This lama with a powerful jaw is portrayed in a similar way but the seams of his patched robe and his vest are inlaid with silver. He sits on the same type of throne …

covered with a cloth inlaid with silver and copper.

13th century, Tibet, lama, gilt copper alloy, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

These thrones supporting lamas were very popular in 13th and 14th century Tibet and often decorated with tiny coral and stone cabochons, as above. It is worth remembering that these sculptures are very small (about 9 cm for the previous two and 14 cm for this one), which makes them all the more remarkable.

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, stone and coral, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

The upper part of this throne is inlaid with silver, copper and stones; the cloth is decorated with coral and stone cabochons, and a strip of copper with a chased geometrical motif.  There is an horizontal vajra sceptre at the front of the last but one tier and some scrolled lotuses above.

The artist has used silver for the eyes and the beaded seams of the clothes, and copper for the seams and the incised edges.

13th-14th century, Tibet, lama, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Here there is an upright vajra sceptre at the front and incised diamonds around the upper edge, no metal or stone inlay.

14th century, Tibet, Kagyu lama, copper alloy with copper and stone inlay, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Yet another style, with two lions and a yaksha on a cut-out background, the columns and rims decorated with incised and copper-inlaid geometrical shapes and stone-inlaid visvjaras. The copper hem on the lama’s robe has a stippled floral motif. He sports a very ostentatious hat painted with pigments.

Tibet, Karmapas (4)

14th-15th century, Tibet, Karma Pakshi, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

The 2nd karmapa wears plain monastic clothes and the (black) hat of the Kagyu order. The absence of gilding and the fact that the waist of his lower garment isn’t visible help date the piece.

17th-18th century, Tibet, Karmapa 2, gilt copper alloy, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

After the 15th century, part of the waist of the lower garment shows (over the vest and under the robe, at chest level) and the clothes often have an incised hem.

17th century, Tibet, Karmapa 9, Wangchuk Dorje, copper alloy (labelled ‘silver’) and gilding, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

This karmapa, with different facial features and no goatee, holds a manuscript in his left hand. He sits on an embroidered cushion covered with a cloth.

17th century, same as before, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The same man wearing fine garments with an incised foliate pattern.